We're so grateful to our Presbytery for giving us a HUGE matching grant to set up a technology access program for our community! We are starting by serving those in our congregation who have technological gaps, with the hopes to start expanding in the future into our neighborhoods.
At a time when people are feeling very isolated, we've noticed that it is extra difficult on the senior members of our community. While many folks have been able to switch with us to online worship and gatherings, it's been very difficult for older adults who haven't had the need, resources, or knowledge to access online forums like YouTube and Zoom before.
We will be setting up a mobile computer lab with laptops, tablets, and smartphones in order to teach classes and offer tutoring on technology that for some has become second nature. This communication gap isolates those who struggle with that technology and widens the chasm between the generations. Scripture calls us to equip people to be with one another in meaningful ways.
We are also called to help people access physical needs. Many people in our community simply don't have the hardware necessary to access online worship, small groups, and fellowship. We will also use the lab as a lending library to get hardware into he hands of those who need it.
Finally, we will be purchasing equipment and software needed to boost our ability to livestream our worship services once we're back in person again. This will create greater access for those who are unable to attend in person for any reason from illness or disability to just being on vacation. It will also allow people looking for a church home to experience our worship service in some way without the awkward first step of walking into the building with no idea what to expect.
Here's how you can help:
Take the technology access survey (if you haven't already)
This survey will help us to assess the specific needs of the community as we craft the program.
Financial donations to the program
Use the Emsworth UP online giving portal and make sure to enter "Tech access program" into the notes field.
OR checks can be mailed to:
Emsworth UP Church
73 Hiland Ave
Emsworth, PA 15202
memo: Technology access.
Donate new or used tablets, laptops, or smartphones
Recycle old mobile devices
If you are interested in volunteering for collection of donated items, set up of the lab, teaching, tutoring, or planning of the program, please fill out the form below and let us know what you'd like to help with.
You may have heard that we recently received a grant to start a mobile technology lab and lending library, as well as to improve our online worship. We are hoping to start up tech tutoring by the fall and your input is very helpful for us as we begin to craft the program. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey and let us know what might be most helpful for you or how you might be able to help out as a volunteer in the program.
On Wednesday Evenings for 10 weeks beginning on July 8, Pastor Charissa and Tim Howe will be co-leading a book study and discussion series centered around the writings of Martin Luther King Jr. We will talk about his groundbreaking theological work and involvement in the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, as well as the historical roots of systemic racism in America and a faithful response to racial injustice today.
You don't have to be a regular to our study groups or even a regular at our church to join us in this discussion. Feel free to spread the word! All we ask is that you come prepared to do some reading and to discuss with one another from an attitude of love and grace.
Everyone will be expected to have a copy of the book "I Have a Dream" edited by James M. Washington. The book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Have-Dream-Writings-Speeches-Anniversary/dp/0062505521/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=I+have+a+dream&qid=1592839058&sr=8-3. If you are unable to place an online order, contact the church and we will arrange with you to have one sent to your house.
The link to join the discussion via Zoom is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89520517226
To call in, use any phone to dial +16465588656 and enter Meeting ID: 895 2051 7226
If you would like to add to your digital calendar, just download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZ0odemtrzwoGNIjr7di4ZXMV793V-rGGvVp/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGhqzkqH9WSshuBRpx5GYjoc-_zmGZBjY10lg2yBykHWDvbALUbYYQyAv_3
We have two new study groups starting in up in July and all are welcome to join us. Please feel free to share this information with your friends and family. These groups will meet virtually. There will be both video call and audio call in options for both.
On Sunday, July 12, Pastor Charissa will begin a sermon series on the book of Revelation. To give you an opportunity to dig deeper into the text, the Thursday afternoon Bible study will also focus on the book of Revelation. All are welcome to join us. You don't have to be a regular to our study groups or even a regular at our church to join us in this discussion. Feel free to spread the word! Revelation is a fascinating and frequently misinterpreted book of the Bible, so this is a great study to invite folks to.
Bible study will remain at 2pm on Thursdays and we will start studying Revelation on July 9.
It is not required, but it is recommended that attendees purchase a copy of N. T. Wright's commentary, "Revelation for Everyone". This can be purchased at Amazon. If you are unable to place an online order, contact the church and we will arrange with you to have one sent to your house. Make sure you are purchasing the full commentary and not the Bible study guide. The link for the full commentary is: Revelation for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone)
The link to join Bible study via Zoom is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/847908421
To call in, use any phone to dial +16465588656 and enter Meeting ID: 847 908 421
If you would like to add to your digital calendar, just download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZAqfumgqjkrafWkPO_IdxHkd6_mUUwCqg/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGsqTIqEtCXsV3tc7cvA4Hqb_HqkHBInahtsyDMBzh7aQegCe93B6VcAd-B
For more in depth discussion, you can follow along with Pastor Charissa and her friends, Pastor Alan and Pastor Rebecca, on a weekly podcast at https://www.softidolatry.com/podcast.html
In May, we sent out a plan for moving toward reopening the church buildings as the world begins to slowly creep out of lockdown and quarantine.
After watching reports in our county and the next door counties, we have selected a date to move into the next phase of our plan. We will be moving from red to yellow on Friday, July 10. If you look at the updated plan we have attached, you'll see one addition from the first edition of this plan - outdoor worship during the yellow phase. We have attached the updated guidelines at the bottom of this post so that you can download a full copy.
Did you know that being in a group of people outdoors is 19 times less likely to spread Covid-19 than being indoors? We learned that recently ourselves, and knowing that, we believe that by adding outdoor worship two evenings per month, we can still keep everyone reasonably safe from infection while still gathering together for corporate worship.
Here's what this will look like:
Saturday, July 11th at 6PM, we will gather for a worship service on the lawn at St. Andrew’s. We are asking that in order to save on disinfecting costs and effort, everyone bring with them their own lawn chair or folding chair. If you do not have access to such a chair or are unable to transport one for some reason, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work something out. Households will be required to sit at least 6 feet apart from one another. Masks are recommended, and if you don’t have one, we will have a washable, reusable one available for you to use and take home for future use. While we know you’ve missed one another and this will be a joyful reunion, please refrain at all cost from hugging, shaking hands, or otherwise coming in physical contact with anyone from outside your household. We have many people in our community who are at risk for major complications from Covid-19 and we have already seen firsthand how dangerous it can be. Air hugs, jazz hands, shouting “yay! I missed you!”, and complimenting everyone’s crazy quarantine hair are all acceptable greetings. The building will not be open for restrooms, so please plan accordingly. Restrooms are the most difficult part of the building to keep appropriately sanitized. There is no rain plan. If there is a little bit of rain, grab an umbrella and come anyway. If there is alot of rain, we will cancel. Keep an eye out for a weather alert via our usual winter weather system if you are unsure.
On Saturday, July 25th at 6PM, we will gather at Emsworth on the lawn with the same directions for community safety. Please park on the far end of the large parking lot, the small lower lot, or the street, and we will gather on the half of the large lot closest to the building.
On both of these weekends, we will still have Sunday morning virtual worship just as we’ve been doing. This will allow those who are still uncomfortable gathering in person to worship from the comfort and safety of their homes. In other words, Sunday morning worship will continue exactly the way it’s been continuing over the past few months online, but we’ll be adding the Saturday evening in person worship twice a month.
We will also use both of these evenings to gather used laptops, tablets, and smartphones to begin putting together our new mobile technology education lab. This program will include a mobile technology lab, classes on technology use in day to day life, a tech lending library, and improved live-streaming abilities moving forward when we are back in the sanctuary again. For every working devise donated (please remember to bring the charging cables if you still have them), you will receive a receipt for the in kind donation and we will receive credit toward the matching grant we have been given. We receive $4 from the Presbytery for every $1 worth of donated items and cash donations, up to $4000 total of matching. If you have non- working tablets, laptops, or smart phones, we will recycle them for you for a recommended cash donation of at least $5. Those cash donations will count toward the matching grant. Anything we collect (in-kind or cash) over $1000 enables us to do even more with this new program. We cannot accept desktops, monitors, non-smart phones, or other electronics/accessories. Feel free to ask around to your friends and family for donations of items and cash for this project as well. The more we collect, the more we can do to help connect to our community and help our community connect as use of technology is becoming increasingly important in day to day life. Stay tuned for information on online fundraising for this project, as well as additional drop off dates that you can share on social media.
I can’t wait to see all your faces in person on July 11!
Stay safe and healthy, friends.
For a few weeks now, we have been getting together a couple times a week for a 15 minute morning prayer service.
Word on the street is that people really enjoy getting together virtually for morning prayer. At least for a time, we're going to continue doing morning prayer three days a week. Once we get back into the buildings, we might offer in person morning prayer, as well as the zoom option. Your answers to a few quick questions will be helpful in our planning moving forward.
All answers are anonymous. You do no have to be a regular of the congregation to answer this - we're asking all of our friends and community contacts as well.